It is no longer a definite risk to openly criticise the drug war or advocate for marijuana reform. On the contrary, broaching the subject can deliver votes, win elections and increase a politician’s popularity across a broad spectrum of demographics. This is relatively new. But as focus groups still dominate election strategies, politicians remain wary of issues that haven’t been sufficiently tested, regardless of personal conviction. This is not new. When it comes to doing the right thing, or at the very least, favouring facts over fear, it’s strictly a numbers game. An issue isn’t really an issue until the numbers say it is. And even then, said issue remains immaterial until it becomes a proven fact that it will get bodies into the ballot box.
Which is why Colorado is so interesting. A battleground state where Romney and Obama are running dead-even in the polls, the Colorado presidential ballot will also feature a measure asking voters whether or not they support the legalisation of marijuana.
Traditional wisdom would suggest that those who are enticed to the voting booth by a marijuana measure would be naturally inclined towards voting Democrat. But after four years of dispensary raids and a shifting policy landscape that makes Obama’s views on marijuana look outdated and bizarrely conservative, that’s a risky assumption.